Companies are adept at tapping the creative minds in their midst for ideas on new ways to use customer information for marketing and advertising purposes. Some companies get it right while others fail. Take social networking sites. As this month’s timely feature on the popularity and promise of social networking sites indicates, these models are inherently rich with targeted marketing possibilities. But there are reasons to tread carefully.

And there are lessons – both good and bad – to draw from along the way. Privacy success stories are out there – and we have provided one below to demonstrate how transparency and a commitment to customer privacy build consumer loyalty and ultimately, the bottom line. The companies that utilize privacy as a competitive advantage are continuing to reap the rewards and distinguish themselves in the marketplace.

How can in-house and third-party advertisers succeed at delivering members of social networking communities targeted marketing messages without triggering a privacy firestorm? Email me your opinions.

J. Trevor Hughes, CIPP

Executive Director, IAPP


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